Friday, December 2, 2011

Natchitoches, Louisiana

We were a bit sad leaving San Augustine Tuesday morning - we really got used to the luxury of full hook ups, showers and wifi 24/7. However, we were excited to be once again back on the road and headed to Louisiana - our first time in this state and our first time to enter into a new state since 2008.

It was only a mere 70 miles to Natchitoches and so a quick trip along the 21. The state line is in the middle of the Toledo Bend Reservoir which we cross over a long causeway bridge. Once on the other side we were in Louisiana on the number 6 and heading north.

We arrived in Natchitoches in the afternoon and headed first to Walmart to stock up on supplies. We then went to the historic downtown and found a parking lot which turned out to be the place that we could stay overnight. I cannot believe how wrong I was about the pronunciation of this city. If you can believe it is Na-ca-dish!

"Natchitoches, the original French colony in Louisiana, maintains its European flavour through its architecture, heritage and lifestyle. At the heart of this National Historic Landmark District lies Front Street, a brick thoroughfare where wrought iron balconies, restaurants, and shops face the beautiful Cane River Lake."

Natchitoches at Night:

Once parked we walked over to the visitor's center and then around the downtown. Since it was close to dinnertime it meant that the sun was setting and all the lights were coming on. We waited down by the river for the food stands to open and then went and had our first meat and catfish pies. The sky got dark pretty quickly and we were treated with a wonderful light display which sadly is difficult to photograph. Once dark we headed back to the trailer - it had been a busy day.

Remember I mentioned the horse drawn carriage ride? Although it was affordable we decided not to do it $12/adult day $10/adult night. But we did stop and say hi to Sam.

The lights are set up on the other side of the Cane River. We decided to start taking pictures while it was still light - glad we did.

The Church of Immaculate Conception circa 1850's.

Natchitoches by Day:
Wednesday morning we headed straight to Lasyone's Meat Pie Restaurant which was right around the corner. Lasyone's is one of those places that you just have to visit when you are in town. It is there local landmark restaurant known for their meat pies. THE place for meat pies. We had a wonderful breakfast of a meat pie, scrambled eggs, hashbrown AND a belgium waffle with whip cream and strawberries. It was neat to look at the walls which are filled with memorabilia going way back. Many many pictures of the owners with celebrities.

After that we pulled out our historic tour walking map and headed out around town. The tour followed through into the neighborhoods and through the American Cemetery and back around to the River. Not sure if we are odd but Derek and I really enjoy walking through Cemeteries. They are very peaceful and interesting. I have to admit having to hold back tears a few times seeing just how many babies and little children had died - especially having Cassia there with us. How sad for the parents and families to lose their children so young.

Enjoying our breakfast at Lasyone's!

The movie 'Steel Magnolias' with Julia Roberts was filmed in Natchitoches - you can take a tour that points out all of the film locations. Here is the house (below) that was used in the film.

See the banana plants!

The Prud'homme-Rouquier Home was so large I couldn't photograph it all - so just did the front door.

Great shop! I could have spent a long time in here but had a husband and child waiting outside! Would have loved to get Cassia the pink Radio Flyer tricycle but yikes $84.

Once downtown again we made a second circuit along Front Street and then headed back to the trailer. We were considering staying a second night but with all the congestion of the city and preparations for the weekend festivities we decided to drive on heading north east on the 84.

We actually didn't have to go far. I had found earlier a campground called Gum Springs in the Kisatchie National Forest a while back. We pulled in and decided to stay - it was beautiful and only $3 to camp the night.

Today's Interesting Link: Learn all about the Cane River National Heritage Area - we opted to go north east instead of south along the Cane River but I am sure it would be a great drive with several Plantations Houses and Pecan Plantations.

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